Sugar Bear Daniels
William D. Daniels
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 195 lb.
- High School Mackenzie High School
- Born ~ 1953
Starting pitcher Sugar Bear Daniels played in the minor leagues from 1972 to 1975.
He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 1st round, 17th overall, of the 1971 amateur draft, between Jeff Wehmeier and Frank Riccelli - a couple of picks after Jim Rice and ahead of Rick Rhoden and Craig Reynolds. A's owner Charlie Finley touted him as a "second Vida Blue". The Oakland A's invited him to spring training in 1972, even though he had not yet played in the minors, and manager Dick Williams considered the hard thrower a serious roster candidate. He was one of their last cuts.
He was 6-10 with a 5.62 ERA for the 1972 Burlington Bees, striking out 127 in 125 innings but walking 97 and firing 25 wild pitches. He tied for 8th in the Midwest League in losses, was third in walks (behind Doug Capilla and Dyain Frazier) and tied Capilla for the most wild pitches while not making the top 10 in whiffs. He led A's farmhands in wild pitches, was second in walks (one behind Chris Floethe) and was fifth in strikeouts (between Bill Kelso and Leon Hooten). He tied Capilla for third in the minor leagues in wild pitches, four behind Bob Galasso.
Daniels opened 1973 back with Burlington (2-1, 2.88, 25 BB, 27 K, 14 H in 25 IP) then joined the California Angels chain partway through 1973. He was 3-3 with a 4.70 ERA for the Salinas Packers the rest of the year, walking 62 in 44 innings while striking out 33. With the independent Peninsula Pennants in 1974, he walked 61 in 60 IP and threw 12 wild pitches while only fanning 38. He was 3-3 with a save and a 5.85 ERA. The former top prospect wrapped up his career in the Detroit Tigers system in 1975, with no decisions and a 9.64 ERA in 7 games for the Lakeland Tigers, walking 13 in 14 IP.
Overall, he was 14-17 with a 5.47 ERA in 57 games (43 starts). Though he struck out 234 batsmen and allowed only 245 hits in 268 innings, he also walked 258 batters.